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A high-density polyethylene (HDPE) natural gas distribution pipe (Grade PE 3306) failed by slow, stable crack growth while in residential service. The leak occurred at a location where a squeeze clamp had been used to close the pipe during maintenance. Failure analysis showed that the origin of the failure was a small surface crack in the inner pipe wall produced by the clamping. Fracture mechanics calculations confirmed that the suspected failure process would result in a failure time close to the actual time to failure. It was recommended that: materials be screened for susceptibility to the formation of the...

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